Janet Sumner Johnson
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Books! Glorious Books! (Kiribati Library Project Update)

Nov

30, 2015 |

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Books! Glorious books! (And yes, I’m totally singing that in my head).

Over the last couple of weeks, packages of books have been trickling in for our Kiribati Library Project. Boxes crammed full of books. Books signed to the students in Kiribati by authors. Recent releases. Old classics. It has been beautiful to see!

 

 

And it’s not done yet. Capstone (my publisher) contacted me, and they’re sending a box, too! I am so thrilled, I just can’t even express it.

Last Tuesday, an unexpected delivery from Amazon arrived on our doorstep. Someone who had already sent us a big box of books had the entire Harry Potter series sent.

Guys, I was crying! When I wrote to thank her, this is what she said:

“The idea that we can introduce kids to these character and the worlds created on the page is pretty much my happy place.”

And I think she pretty much captured why I’m doing this. What an amazing thought! The Harry Potter series has given me countless hours of joy. And she will be giving that to these kids.

This will be my last call for donations (so back to regular programing starting next week). For those interested, you can either donate money at our GoFundMe account, or you can donate books. Just use the Contact Me tab for information on where to send them.

Since that first post, I have received a wish list of books from the library. We have received a few on the list, but I wanted to post it in case it inspires anyone out there to join in our cause.

That said, if you have books to donate that are not on this list, that is great, too! But this gives a good picture of the types of things they are looking for.

Thank you again for reading this post and for all the sharing and donations and well-wishes we’ve received on this project. Imagining these books in the hands of these students makes me so happy. Thank you!

 

Kiribati Library Project Wishlist
Middle Reading:    
Goosebumps Books All Series                 R.L. Stine

Hardy Boys Series                                      Franklin W. Dixon
Nancy Drew Series                                     Carolyn Keene
The Littles Series                                        John Peterson
Ramona Series                                            Beverly Cleary
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles           Patricia C. Wrede
Betsy-Tacy Books                                        Maud Hart Lovelace
The Princess in Black and the
Perfect Princess Party                                 Shannon Hale
Matilda                                                           Roald Dahl
Are You There God? It’s Me
Margaret
                                                        Judy Blume
Harriet the Spy                                             Louise Fitshugh
The Chocolate War                                      Robert Cormier

 

Young Adult Series:
Harry Potter Series                                       J. K. Rowling

The Hunger Game Series                            Suzanne Collins
(Need Hunger Games and Mockingjay)

The Lord of the Rings                                   J.R.R. Tolkien

The Giver Series                                             Lois Lowry
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy        Douglas Adam
Anne of Green Gable Series                          L.M. Montgomery
Graceling Series                                               Christine Cashore
The Sisterhood of TravelingPants Series    Ann Brashares
Uglies Series                                                     Scott Westerfeld
Twilight Series                                                 Stephenie Meyer

Earthsea Series                                                 Ursula K. Le Guin

The Princess Diary Series                               Meg Cabot
Song of the Lioness series                               Tamora Pierce
Vampire Academy                                            Richelle Mead
Fable Haven                                                       Brandon Mull
The Goose Girl series                                       Shannon Hale
The Princess Academy series                          Shannon Hale
(Need book 2 and 3)
Ever After High                                                  Shannon Hale
Daughter of the Lioness / Tricksters series   Tamora Pierce
Percy Jackson series                                          Rick Riordan
The Red Pyramid Series                                    Rick Riordan
The Chronicles of Narnia                                  C.S. Lewis
Leviathan series                                                   Scott Westerfeld
His Dark Material Series                                   Philip Pullman
The Mortal Instruments series                        Cassandra Clare
Fallen series                                                          Lauren Kate
Septimus Heap Series                                          Angie Sage
The Maze Runner series                                     James Dashner
Crank series                                                           Ellen Hopkins
Matched series                                                      Ally Condie
Discworld / Tiffany Aching series                     Terry Pratchett
Chaos Walking series                                           Patrick Ness
Circle of Magic series                                            Tamora Pierce
Wrinkle in Time Series                                         Madeleine L’Engle
Roll of
Thunder Hear my Cry Series
                               Mildred Taylor
(Need Let the Circle Be unbroken, and The Road to Memphis)

Chronicles of Prydain                                            Lloyd Alexander

 

Young Adult Books:

 

The Fault in our Stars                                                              John
Green

Looking for Alaska                                                                   John
Green
The Hobbit                                                                                J.R.R.
Tolkien
The Catcher in the Rye                                                           J.D.
Salinger
To Kill a Mockingbird                                                              Harper
Lee
The Book Thief                                                                         Markus
Zusak
The Outsiders                                                                           S.E. Hinton
The Princess Bride                                                                   William Goldman
Thirteen Reasons Why                                                            Jay Asher
The Curious Incident of a Dog in the
Nighttime                 Mark Haddon
Stargirl                                                                                        Jerry Spinelli
The House on Mango Street                                                   Sandra Cisneros
The Truth About Forever                                                         Sarah Dessen
The
Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane                          Kate
DiCamillo
Tuck Everlasting                                                                        Natalie Babbitt
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time
Indian
                Sherman
Alexie

13 Little Blue Envelopes                                                           Maureen Johnson
It’s Kind of a Funny Story                                                         Ned Vizzini
Just Listen                                                                                   Sarah Dessen
A Ring of Endless Light                                                             Madeleine L’Engle
Before I Fall                                                                                Lauren Oliver
Unwind                                                                                        Neal Shusterman
The Last Unicorn                                                                        Peter S. Beagle
If I Stay                                                                                         Gayle Forman
The Blue Sword                                                                          Robin McKinley
The Hero and the Crown                                                          Robin
McKinley
Beauty                                                                                         Robin
McKinley
I Am the Messenger                                                                  Markus Zusak
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous                                                    Beatrice
Sparks
Daughter of Smoke & Bone                                                     Laini Taylor
The House of the Scorpion                                                      Nancy Farmer
Wintergirls                                                                                  Laurie Halse Anderson
Lafayette in the Somewhat
United States                            Sarah
Vowell
Holes                                                                                           Louis
Sachar
The Phantom Tollbooth                                                           Norton
Juster
The Diary of Anne Frank                                                          Otto
Frank
Wonder                                                                                       R.
J. Palacio
Out of My Mind                                                                         Sharon
M. Draper
Bridge to Terabithia                                                                  Katherine
Patterson
Jacob Have I loved                                                                     Katherine
Patterson
A Separate Peace                                                                       John
Knowles
Hatchet                                                                                        Gary
Paulsen
Princess Bride                                                                             William
Goldman
The Westing Game                                                                    Ellen
Raskin
Number the Stars                                                                       Lois
Lowery
Boxers and Saints                                                                       Gene
Luen Yag
The Lost Conspiracy                                                                   Francise
Hardinge
Esperanza Rising                                                                         Pam
Munoz Ryan
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of
Nimh                                            Robert
C. Obrian
The invention of Hugo Cabret                                                  Brian
Selznick

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A Bit of Good: Update on the Library Project

Nov

16, 2015 |

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With all the terrible things that have happened throughout the world over the past few days, it can be easy to forget that there is good in the world, too. While I know it doesn’t change what happened, or fix things for those who are suffering right now, I want to tell you about a little of that goodness.

Last week I reached out to you–to the world of social media. I didn’t know what to expect, but you all blew me away between the sharing of my post, the offers to send books, and the monetary donations. I haven’t received the books yet, so I can’t show you a picture of that, but here’s a peek at the GoFundMe page:

People are good and kind and generous. They reach out to strangers. They offer help in the ways they can. People I didn’t even know donated money. People I’ve never met are shipping off books.

Thank you! Thank you so much for being you. For being generous humans who spread good in the world. Thank you! I can’t express how touched I’ve been at your support.

For any who would still like to participate, we will be collecting books and donations over the next couple of months. For more information, please visit the original post that explains it all.

Now, one more thing. My 11-yo wanted to write in support of the cause, and I promised I would post it for him:

Dear readers,                                                                          
                Hello.
To you readers, I ask you this, how would you feel if you had almost no books to read? I would feel devastated, it would make me less curious, although that
might not sound bad to you, take some time to imagine what that amounts to: . .
. now that you have thought about it, I hope you realize the full gravity of
helping those children on Kiribati.
                Imagine
how thankful they’ll feel to have such a great gift to enjoy and share. I hope
you know to expect nothing but an unseen and unheard thank you along with the
knowledge that you helped someone besides yourself.
                I
sincerely hope now that you will help those children.
                                                            Signed,
                                                            11-yo. J. 

Before I leave you, I want to give a heard and seen THANK YOU for your help.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
You ARE making a difference in these kids’ lives.

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A Sad Little Library and a Call For Help

Nov

09, 2015 |

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Those of you who know me well know that my parents left on a religious mission just over a year ago about a month after they retired.

Before retirement, my Mom was an elementary school principal and my dad was a high school engineering and science teacher. So it was only fitting that in their service, they went to work in a high school on a tiny island in the Pacific called Kiribati.

While their main purpose is to train the teachers and help them pass the certification testing (Mom and Dad, correct me if I’m wrong!), they also do all kinds of other things such as helping students fill out applications for college, judging school competition events, overseeing the computer lab, and most recently evaluating the school library to determine its needs.

This last duty is what I wanted to talk about to you today.

You see, the state of that school library makes me sad. They sent pictures, and I want to share those with you. This first one is a picture of their fiction book shelves:

Oh my goodness, just so much emptiness.

And not only are the shelves empty, but many of the books they have aren’t age appropriate and are falling apart.

Now, I love the Berenstain Bears, and I love Madeline, but they are not the books I would choose to put in a high school library.

This is not something I could let go. I read their blog post early Sunday morning, and I couldn’t stop thinking about this library.

It didn’t take long to decide that my family and I would work together to collect some books and send a package. But you saw that picture. The package we could send would make nary a dent in the library’s needs.

And then I got to thinking that maybe others would like to help, too. Because you are my people. You understand how important books are. You understand their power and influence. You understand the impact a book can have on a teen. You understand how important it is to offer a wide variety of books to get our youth on that path of reading. You understand the satisfaction that comes from finding that book . . . the one that speaks to you and changes your life.

And that is why I’m asking for your help today. There are several ways you can help:

  1.  If  you have any gently used or new books that would be appropriate for middle or high schoolers and which you would be willing to send to me, please contact me using the Contact Me tab above (or just click on that link).
  2. If you don’t have any books to send, but would be willing to donate money to the cause, I have set up a GoFundMe account. I will use any donated funds to both buy books and help pay for the shipping costs (which are HUGE). Even a dollar donation will make a difference!
  3. If you have no extra money or books to share, I totally get that. I have been there (man, have I been there). What you can do is spread the word! Share this post on twitter or facebook. That would be a huge help!
I plan to send a shipment (or 2 or 3 or however many I’m able) at the beginning of December in hopes that they will arrive before the start of their next school year (Jan/Feb). 
Seriously, if you can’t help, please don’t feel even the teensiest bit of guilt. We can’t all do everything, and there are a lot of great causes out there. I appreciate that you are here reading my blog post, and I appreciate your friendship.
Thank you for listening, now go forth and have a great day!

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